My main reason for purchasing this was to bake bacon in the oven when I was going full keto a few years ago.
I’m not much of a baker. So I have limited experience with the cooling rack side of things. I was tired of the mess when I made bacon on the stove top. Not to mention the space restrictions of trying to fit an entire package of bacon into a pan – cooking in batches be damned!
This is one of those products that I really didn’t know I needed it until I bought it.
I’m able to take the entire package and bake bacon in the oven in one shot. Then I save the leftovers (if there are any) and reheat as needed (5 minutes in the toaster oven is perfect).
Is stainless steel a good material for a baking rack?
The stainless steel makes this a good clean living option for everyday cooking or baking. Checkered Chef’s website isn’t too detailed on the specifics of the stainless steel grade. 18/10 steel is a better clean living option than aluminum, though I generally prefer 18/0.
One of the Amazon reviews touches on this indicating that the steel is 18/0 as a downside due to more acid reactivity in the oven. I will have to research this further, stay tuned! But for now 18/10 stainless steel is fine.
Checkered Chef actually offers a baking sheet set which includes the rack. The drawback is that the baking sheet is aluminum which I personally like to avoid. However, if you already have one, the rack fits perfectly into most half baking sheets – if not, this is a good stainless steel baking sheet option.
Are baking racks with grids better than traditional roasting racks?
The grid size of the sheet has been perfect. Especially to bake bacon in the oven. I’ve never had any other food slip through the grates either.
As for cleaning, the squares are big enough that I can get a brush or my finger + sponge through easily enough.
Depending on what you’re cooking (or cooling), it obviously will have an effect on how dirty it gets.
Trying to figure out the best temperatures to bake bacon in the oven took some trial and error. Trying get the best cook time and temperature for my oven down, there were many times I was left with burnt bacon stuck on the rack. Not the easiest thing to clean!
Generally, if the sink is totally clear, I can lay the rack down on the bottom and give it a good scrub with a sponge or brush. But just throwing it in the dishwasher works too!
Again, not being a huge baker, I didn’t know that baking/cooling rack warping was a thing. But Checkered Chef has that problem covered by putting a reinforcement wire down the center of the rack. After several years, many rides through the dishwasher and scrubbings in the sink, it still maintains its shape to this day.
Tips on How to Bake Bacon in the Oven
Baking bacon in the oven is pretty straightforward. Although it might take a few tries to get to your perfectly cooked slice of bacon.
How big is the package of bacon?
Every package of bacon is different. The width of the slices can vary. Some have more slices than others. And some are sliced thicker.
Usually the whole package fits on my half baking sheet. But I have gotten packages that didn’t all fit at once.
Take all of this into consideration when figuring out how long and at what temperate you’ll bake bacon in the oven.
Bacon slice arrangement, it’s a bit of an art
Some people say not to crowd the bacon on the rack. I personally won’t say that. I’m a huge proponent of baking it all one shot.
There’s obviously a limit to this though; you don’t want the bacon slices on top of each other. But if you have to squeeze them all in at different directions, go for it! Sometimes I twist them to make the slices a little shorter to make some more space.
But once in a while, no matter how much I try, I really can’t fit them all.
Having more than one baking rack can solve this problem.
Usually I’ll cook the few extra pieces on the stove top. The perfect snack while I wait for the rest of the bacon to bake in the oven! Or I’ll take my kitchen sheers to those last few slices, cook them on the stove and have bacon bits for later.
Time & temp
Every oven is different too. The sweet spot for my oven is 400° for around 20-30 minutes. I usually start checking at 20 minutes.
Adjust to your oven’s quirks. You’ll want to figure out a good benchmark for when to start checking your bacon.
Unless you always buy the same bacon brand, your cooking time will always be different. If your bacon is very crowded or if it’s thick sliced, it will need to stay in longer. If your slices have some space in between or are sliced thinner, you can start checking the doneness at around 15 minutes.
Most importantly, the cooking time will depend on how you like your bacon.
Crispy or floppy?
I’ve always been a crispy bacon lover. For me it’s more delicious. Easier to eat. Easier to save for leftovers. And easier to use in recipes.
My sister, however, likes her bacon more under-done – floppy, if you will. Growing up, my mom would ask us if we wanted our bacon floppy or crispy. I think I even remember my sister asking for floppy bacon when we were at Disney World having breakfast with Mickey Mouse. To each their own.
While you don’t need to have a baking rack to bake bacon in the oven, it certainly helps. It’s definitely a must if you like crispy bacon. It just makes it way easier.
Oven fried bacon
If you put bacon directly on the baking sheet, depending on how fatty the particular cut is, you might end up getting deep fried bacon.
Toward the end of cooking the bacon will be basically submerged in its own fat and start frying. But hey. Maybe that’s what you’re going for! There’s not many wrong ways to do this.
Baking bacon in the oven is also an easier way to save your bacon fat if you’re into that sorta thing. I save mine to cook with later. I just tilt the pan to one of the corners and pour it in a jar.
There’s always going to be a place for stove top and griddled bacon. But baking bacon in the oven is so much easier, requires less maintenance during cooking, and comes out perfect almost every time.
Bake Bacon in the Oven
- Prep Time: 5 min
- Cook Time: 20-30 min
- Total Time: 25-35 min
- 1 package of bacon
- Baking sheet (preferably stainless steel but you could line an aluminum pan with parchment paper)
- Baking rack (optional but awesome)
- Preheat oven to 400 °F.
- Arrange all the bacon on the rack/sheet or as much as you can without overlapping. Get creative.
- Depending on the thickness and amount of bacon, bake bacon in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Check if bacon is cooked perfectly for you. Leave in oven in 5 minute increments if the bacon needs to bake longer.
- The bacon will keep cooking for a minute or so after you take it out, so you want to take it out just before it looks done.
- Use your judgement. If the bacon is still WAYY under cooked after 20 minutes, leave it in longer.
- You could up the temperature to 425°, but keep in mind the cooking times will be less.
- You know your oven best. It will take a few tries to get it down. You’ll want to under cook it first and then start checking it every few minutes. Bacon can go from perfect to burnt fast!